TNS: Network Advertising Down 3% in 2007

Cable Represents Only Gain in TV Sector, Spot TV Sees Sharpest Decline

There were fewer advertising dollars flowing to network television through the first nine months of 2007 compared with a year ago, according to research by TNS Media Intelligence.

In a research report released Tuesday, TNS provided advertising-spending data for the first nine months of the year. Advertising on television media as a whole was down 1.9% to $46.4 billion over that span compared with 2006.

While network television remains the top outlet for advertiser spending on television, that segment was down 3% to $16.1 billion through the first nine months.

TNS senior vice president of research Jon Swallen said the 2007 lag in network television was largely due to the effect of the 2006 Olympic Games and because of the turnover in the smaller networks. While The CW replaced The WB on a dollar-for-dollar basis, MyNetworkTV represents only about $0.40 of every dollar UPN was bringing in.

The fourth quarter should provide some improvement on a comparative basis because it will compare the current networks in both periods. However, Swallen noted, the Big Four networks alone are still down 1.7% for the year.

Spending on cable represented the only gain in the television sector, while spot TV saw the sharpest decline. Ad spending on cable in the first nine months was up 4.7% to $12.7 billion from $12.15 billion in 2006, while the spot market, facing tough comparisons in an off-election year, sank 6.8% to $11.2 billion.

Spanish-language TV ad sales were essentially flat over the survey period at $3.25 billion, while national syndication was down 4.6% to $3.03 billion.

The decline in spending by advertising sector was led in large part to the cutback in advertising by automakers. Both domestic and foreign auto advertising slid in the first nine months by 9.1% to $5 billion and 6.1% to $5.9 billion, respectively. Spending from the top 10 advertising sectors was down 2.3% for the year.